OTT Video News, Deals, Launches and Products

Arris reported first quarter revenues of $1.48 billion, down 8% from last year and 16% from the previous quarter, yet claims its full year targets are still well within reach. The company cut its net loss to $39 million, down from $203 million in the first quarter of 2016. Arris CEO Bruce McClelland commented on the earnings, “we had a solid finish to Q1 on good order flow and shipments. We expect the key technology trends that underpin our business – fiber deep, DOCSIS 3.1, advanced wireless home networking, and 4K video – to gain momentum and result in second-half growth.”

Sky has acquired a little-known company called Homedia, a provider of OTT TV in Switzerland, for an undisclosed fee, as the UK operator continues to expand its international OTT operations. Homedia runs a catalog of over 10,000 titles under the Hollystar brand, costing 9.90 Swiss Francs a month ($9.97), plus movies and series available for one-off purchase. Hollystar is pushed via telco TV platforms from Sunrise, Quickline and VTX, as well as through online content provider Teleboy. It can also be accessed on the smart TV portals from Sony and LG.

South African telco MTN is killing off its streaming VoD service VU, in the same week that MTN’s partner in VU, Discovery Digital, is launching its own VoD service. VU users will receive a free three-month subscription to streaming site Showmax, owned by Naspers.

Samsung Electronics America is teaming up with US content connectivity provider Sonifi Solutions to provide an integrated in-room technology bundle for the hospitality industry. The duo are offering hotels any Samsung Hospitality TV with Samsung Lynk Reach 4.0 Content Management Solution and Sonifi StayCast streaming solution – powered by Chromecast and integrated into Samsung’s UI.

Kudelski Group has bought Nordic media asset management (MAM) services company DVnor (Digital Video Norge). The Swiss security group plans for DVnor to work closely with its conditional access subsidiary Conax, to develop additional value for new pay TV operator offerings. DVnor’s core product, DVnor Organizer, provides an automated all-in-one platform for metadata and digital file management, transcoding, storage, distribution and post-production services.

Amazon Studios has signed exclusive deals with three production companies – Bona Fide Productions, Killer Films and Le Grisbi Productions. Each has a two-year deal covering TV series and movies.

Nielsen has rolled out new capabilities in its Social Content Ratings to support the analysis of activity within the total social TV conversation – breaking it down into owned and organic. This means the new analytics can help inform network media strategies by measuring engagement with content posted by owned accounts associated with a program or organic accounts from the general audience. The social aspect takes data from Twitter, with plans to incorporate Facebook and Instagram soon. Advertisers and agencies can also use the insights to inform brand content strategies.

European OTT streaming site and B2B platform provider Magine TV is closing down its consumer operations in Sweden, citing the break-down in negotiations with broadcasters TV4 and MTG. The company will continue to invest in Germany and other markets, and will keep ownership of the Plejmo movie rental service in Sweden, which it bought in 2015.

NBC Universal’s DreamWorks has backed out of its plans for a $2 billion entertainment theme park in Shanghai, for which it initially aimed to profit from the popularity of its intellectual property in China. In March it announced it was acquiring the remaining 49% stake in Osaka-based theme park Universal Studios Japan (USJ) that it did not already own, giving it 100% control. It is buying out partners including Goldman Sachs, MBK Partners and Owl Creek Asset Management, for $2.3 billion – valuing USJ at $7.4 billion.

Facebook posted revenues up 51% year-on-year to $8 billion, with net profit rising from $1.74 billion to just over $3 billion. Mobile ad revenue is still climbing, now accounting for 85% of Facebook’s total $7.86 billion advertising revenue. Daily active users on the social media platform hit 1.28 billion in March this year, increasing 18% from March 2016.

Hulu and UK broadcaster Channel 4 are teaming up to produce a futuristic drama about the first mission to Mars, entitled The First. The eight-part series will be written by House of Cards author Beau Willimon.

Fox Networks Group France has renewed its playout contract with French OTT technology provider Arkena for another three years. Arkena handles the broadcast of the group’s HD channels National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild and Voyage.

Mobile apps are using a new method to track consumer behavior, by detecting ultrasonic tones which are emitted from digital advertisements and billboards, and are undetectable by the human ear, reports ZDNet. The technology is called ultrasonic cross-device tracking, and can be used to build up a profile of what advertisements have been seen and where, and even what websites have been visited on different devices.